Are Worker's Compensation Cases Always A Matter Of Public Record?

Posted on: 5 March 2018

Most people are happy to have their names published along with court announcements and news stories related to the case because they're looking for justice and want to share their story. However, for victims of abuse and others who are trying to protect their privacy for personal reasons, the idea of having their name in the newspapers and public record documents can discourage them from seeking out the compensation they're deserved after an injury on the job. Find out how public records for worker's compensation cases are handled and what your options are for maintaining your privacy.

State Regulations

In many states, a worker's compensation case is a matter of private record regardless of how they're handled. From cases that are settled in court to those that are arbitrated or settled out of court, these records are sealed and considered private so that future employers can't possibly use them for hiring decisions in the future. However, many other states consider these kinds of cases just as public as any other lawsuit. You should check your state's specific statutes regarding worker's compensation cases to determine if you're already protected or need to take extra steps for private records.

Settlement Amount

Whether you settle out of court or in court, the actual amount of money you are awarded for your claim remains a private fact in all 50 states. Even if there are some public notifications necessary for the trial process that may include your legal name, you won't have to worry about the results of the claim being published. This is the main concern for many people suing for worker's compensation support when an employer is denying a claim and complicating the process.

Insurance Companies

Even in cases that are kept private and require no public notices or announcements, the insurance companies who provide worker's compensation insurance for employers still have access to these records. In states with privacy protection, the details of the case are listed but not your name or personal identifying details. Other states are perfectly happy to let insurance companies see who won a claim, which could lead to employment discrimination. You must request to have your records sealed by the court in these cases if you're concerned about your name appearing in insurance databases.

Making a claim for private records is complex even when the rest of your worker's compensation claim is going smoothly. Enlist the help of a worker's compensation law professional if you need to maintain your anonymity and still get the payments you deserve.